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Iran: Israeli operatives arrested

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 11, 2012 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nuclear talks with Iran are scheduled to resume Saturday
  • Israel and Iran are believed to be engaged in a shadow war
  • The Israeli Prime Minister's office had no official comment on the Iranian claims

(CNN) -- Iran said it has broken up an Israeli "terror and sabotage network" that was planning attacks within the country, making a number of arrests while confiscating weapons and equipment, state-run media reported.

"The complicated and months-long measures and moves made by the Iranian intelligence forces to identify the devils led to the discovery of the Zionists' regional command center ... and discovering the identity of the agents active in that command center," a statement from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said, according to the Fars News Agency.

Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that every few months Iran spreads disinformation and there is no basis to the story.

The developments come ahead of the scheduled resumption of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday.

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Faced with mounting pressure from the world powers over its controversial nuclear program, Iran said last month that it was ready to re-engage with the International Atomic Energy Association, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran has the right, like other countries, to enrich uranium for commercial and research reactors. But the same facilities that are used for peaceful enrichment can be used to enrich uranium for a bomb. And that's what many Western countries suspect Iran is doing.

Iran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Tehran's claims of an Israeli terror network come in the midst of an apparent shadow war the two nations are believed to be fighting.

Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated and there have been mysterious explosions in the country.

Also Iran and the Tehran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah have in recent months made various claims about discovering Israeli espionage operations, which have been met by either silence or flat out denials from Israeli government officials.

Separately, there have been attempted attacks against Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia, along with suspected terror plots against Israeli targets in Thailand and Azerbaijan.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Kevin Flower contributed to this report.

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